5 Easy Tips for Keeping Your Kids Bike in Top Shape
You might be just needing to give the family bikes a general clean or coming into winter you want to make sure the bikes are ready for a slight hiatus of non-riding.
Whether you live in Australia, or in the Northern Hemisphere where you might experience more extreme weather and longer bike hibernation times, if your bike is likely not going to be used for a few months, then it is worth doing these few simple maintenance tasks to ensure they are ready to ride again come the sunshine of Spring.
1. Check over and inflate the tyres
Check tyre wear - look over the tyre to see if it is down to the threads - because we all know little kids love to do skids, whether they are intending to or not!
If the tyres are slightly deflated, the weight of the bike will push down on them and if this is for an extended period of time, the weight will put pressue on a specific spot and possibly cause deterioration. This is only the case if the bike is stored upright. Storing it suspended from the ceiling or a wall-rack will eliminate this issue.
Of course, you should check your tyre pressures regularly throughout the summer months too - every 2 weeks is recommended. Because they will deflate over time on their own. Riding with your pressures too low will increase the number of flat tyres you get and wheel damage when hit sharp bumps. Check the side wall of your tyres for optimal pressures.
2. Clean the frame
Most kids' bikes do not get the same off-road or even on-road workout that adults' bikes do but that doesn't mean there won't be an accumulation of mud or dirt and grease on the frame and the drivetrain.
Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any excess mud and dirt around the frame and then a damp cloth to wipe down the whole bike. Pay specific attention to the greasy-build up around the drivetrain.
Kids love to help out and getting them to clean their bikes will give them an appreciation and a level of respect for their bikes. Below you can see this ByK rider is using a soft cleaning hand-mit to give her bike a good wipe down:
3. Clean and Lubricate the Brake Cables and Chain
For the chain, there are a number of different lube products you can buy and they depend on the type of riding you do. This bicycle chain care essentials article from one of our stockists, Melbourne Bicycle Centre, gives you the run-down on what you should buy. And as the article says, do not use WD40 on yoru bicycle chain... - "Products like WD40 contain a lot of solvents which evaporate leaving almost nothing to lubricate will only displace and breakdown any lubricants already on the chain."
You should also use a light lubricant and a cloth to wipe down the shifter cables and brake cables on your bike.
4. Clean the seat, saddle and handgrips
Using a soft cloth, much like the hand mit used in the picture above, give the seat, saddle and handgrips a good wipe over. If there is crusty dirt then lightly damp the cloth and wipe down as necessary.
5. Overall Inspection
During the whole process, getting up close and personal with your bike will allow you, and the kids, to get to know its parts and components better and give you an opportunity to inspect it closely to ensure it is in good working oder - no obvious signs of wear and tear that will affect riding it again.